Cover Story: Whatever Happened to the Officer?

Stephen Roach is enjoying life

 
Jymi Bolden


Stephen Roach



When Officer Stephen D. Roach isn't on trial for negligent homicide and obstructing official police business, being sued, losing his gun or being reprimanded, he "enjoys boating, golf, NASCAR and travel," according to his bio page on the Evendale Police Department's Web site.

Prior to starting work in January 2002 with his current employer, the city of Evendale, Roach was on the Cincinnati Police Department. During a foot pursuit on April 7, 2001, he shot and killed Timothy Thomas, 19, who was unarmed and wanted on 14 misdemeanor warrants stemming from traffic offenses — the incident that sparked three days of rioting. Hamilton County Municipal Judge Ralph Winkler acquitted Roach after a bench trial in September 2001.

Roach resigned from the CPD on Jan. 4, 2002, one day after Evendale Village Council unanimously voted to hire him. That didn't go over well with some residents, and approximately 200 protesters held a rally. Mayor Douglas Lohmeier announced that Roach would begin work Jan. 22.

A month later Roach and his training officer caught a suspected bank robber shortly after a Springdale bank holdup. A ballot petition containing more than 200 signatures was filed with the village clerk in June 2002, calling for a referendum on whether Roach should remain on the police force. Evendale City Council received a legal opinion saying the referendum would violate state law, and no vote was held.

Roach eventually faded from the spotlight until March 14, 2005, when he attended the trial of a lawsuit alleging he'd improperly roughed up a suspect during an arrest made while Roach was with the CPD. During the trial Roach left his personal .40-caliber Glock 27 in a restroom in the Hamilton County Courthouse. When he went back to get the weapon, it was gone. The gun was reported lost, not stolen, when it didn't turn up after a search of the premises.

Roach was reprimanded by the Evendale Police Department over the incident. Cincinnati Police officers found the gun in a car driven by a suspect about six weeks later.

Does Roach think about that fateful night almost five years ago that changed the course of his life and ended Timothy Thomas'? Does it matter to him that Internet encyclopedia Wikipedia has his name, albeit spelled incorrectly, in the first two sentences of an extensive list of materials about the Cincinnati riots (visit en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2001_Cincinnati_Riots)? Does he believe the people of Cincinnati are capable of understanding his perspective about the incident?

We can't tell you. Roach didn't respond to multiple requests for an interview.

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